I know that there are more popular topics in the world right now .. like, say, the election of the office of President of the United States, the continuation of war and strife across the planet, the atrocities human beings can inflict upon other sentient beings and even their (our) own habitat thanks to their (our) pesky lack of foresight, the upcoming holiday season … but right now, my focus lies elsewhere. Right now my focus is on my own present experience. And my own present experience finds me getting naked in Hawaii.
This nakedness I speak of is both of a literal (read: physical) nature and of a metaphorical type.
Let me begin by stating that I am currently living in the Puna region of the big island of Hawaii. This is probably the most … let’s say … bohemian region of the island state. Most of us living here are off-grid, meaning that we use alternative forms of power, usually solar, and we are very conservative with what power and water we use. It’s quite normal for the residents here to rise and set with the sun, to use composting toilets (or the land, itself) to eliminate our physical wastes, and to frolic in as naked a state as we comfortably can. Suffice it to say, this is a spectacular place to shed one’s unnecessary layers.
Secondly, let me add that I am living in an intentional community here in Puna. This community, known as Kanekiki, is one focused around a raw foods diet and Non-Violent Communication.
For those of you who have never pursued a raw foods diet, it should be clarified that raw foods lead to raw emotions. When one eats nothing but fruits and vegetables in their natural state (with some few nuts and seeds), then one begins to come face to face with one’s own emotions in their natural state. There is no dulling uncomfortable or challenging feelings with a tub of ice cream, a vat of chocolate sauce or a fifth of tequila. We have no way of stuffing those feelings back down into the nether regions of our Selves, instead we must just *gasp!* feel those feelings, and do our best to navigate them as gracefully and/or authentically as possible. It gets pretty intense, that, sometimes. No more covering up these expressions and feelings … I’m stripping them naked and letting them run around flying their freak flags until they have been so fully expressed that they dissolve into absolute healing bliss.
I wrote a bit about Non-Violent Communication in my last post. (Check it out here.) And since that writing I have had, if I’m not mistaken, a total of at least eight NVC exchanges with people in my community. Some of them have been mildly challenging, but overall pleasant discussions, and others have been deeply emotional, gut-wrenching, tear-jerking, exhausting, heart-breaking clashes. And I am grateful for each and every one. I am learning so much about my Self, my Needs and my Feelings and how to better communicate with each and every instance of discord. With each exchange I am given the opportunity to remove yet another layer of my defense mechanisms. I am getting more and more naked with each opportunity to practice this new language, and it is liberating.
With all of this emotional unveiling happening, my body has expressed an interest in getting in on that action, too. And its prayers have been answered in the form of one of Hawaii’s greatest treasures: the clothing optional beach. Kehena is a black sand beach not too far from the farm where one can simultaneously shimmy out of one’s swimsuit and one’s inhibitions. And because people have been getting naked here for time immemorial, there’s no stigma to it, no spectacle. It’s totally Natural, and no one really turns an eye to the extra few inches of flesh being exposed. Sure, it can make navigating the rocky entrance to and exit from the oft turbulent sea a bit trickier, but the freedom of feeling the sun, salt and surf against my naked skin is so very worth it. And every time I shed my clothes I feel my connection with Nature deepening. I feel like every naked romp gets me closer to being my most Authentic Self. And that makes me want to get naked even more often.
And so it goes, and my defenses begin to fall away, slowly and steadily, and I begin to get to know my Self even better than I ever dreamed I could, and I begin to see the Divine Light inside of me growing more brilliant with each breath. And I feel beautiful in all this nakedness. Mahalo, Hawaii. Mahalo, Pele. Mahalo, brave Self.
Big Love, everyone!